LARES VALLEY TREK

4 Days 3 Nights

The LARES VALLEY TREK is one of the most beautiful treks available through the Vilcanota Mountain Range of the Andes to Machu Picchu.

It is more cultural as you see local stone houses and encounter local people along the way. This is an excellent and popular alternative to the Inca Trail, offering more connection to the local people and culture. On this trek you also see many beautiful lakes, snow capped mountains, and herds of alpacas and llamas. This moderate trek is approximately 40 km/24.86 miles and goes up to 4,600m/15,092ft.

The Lares Valley Trek is usually completed over 4 days (4th day being in Machu Picchu), however, we can offer alternative lengths (3 or 5 days). Please email us to enquire about the itineraries and prices for alternative trek lengths. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).

Meters

Kilometers

Days

Nights

The Nitty Gritty Trek Details

Highlights

Snow-capped mountains, lakes, valleys, cultural, local people, Machu Picchu

Location/Terrain

Snow-capped peaks, multiple high passes, plateaus, rocky terrain

Acclimatization

3 day acclimatization recommended

Duration

4 Days/3 Nights

Distance

40 km/24.86 miles

Altitude

2500m/8,202ft to 4600m/15,092ft

Adventure Rating

★★★☆☆
Moderate, high passes/altitude

Solitude Rating

★★★☆☆
Can be a bit busy in high season

When to Go

Year Round. Best from March to November

Departures

Daily departures with 2 or more people

Prices USD

6-10 trekkers: 770, 3-5 trekkers: 890, 2 trekkers: 1250 (per person)

Customizable

Yes! Private, custom, add-ons all available.

DAY 1: CUSCO – QUISHUARANI (LARES) – CUNCANI

Private transport will pick you up very early at your hotel, departing Cusco at 05:30am for a scenic drive through the Sacred Valley. We will pass through Pisac and stop for a brief bathroom break and the chance to buy any last minute items (extra snacks, rain ponchos, etc.) in Calca, one of the towns in the Sacred Valley. Departing Calca, we head off for the scenic drive to Quishuarani (3,700 m/12,140 ft) which is the starting point for the trek. Along the way you will observe small Andean communities, spectacular mountain landscapes, herds of llamas and alpacas, plus Campesinos (people of the local villages) in colorful costumes, as is traditional with all villages around Lares. A packed breakfast will be served en route around 9:00am with arrival to Quishuarani before 10:00am, where we will meet our trek staff (horsemen, cook, etc). Snacks will be given out at this time to be enjoyed during breaks taken throughout the day. We commence our beautiful trek through the Andes with a gentle climb from 3,700 m/12,140 ft to 4,200 m/13,780 ft where we will arrive at the lake named Queuña Cocha with views of Sawasiray mountain (5,400 m/17,717 ft) and Colque Cruz mountain (5,600 m/18,373 ft). There is a short, steeper climb to our first pass, Hualcacasa (4,400 m/14,440 ft) where Veronica mountain (5,800 m/19,028 ft) can be seen when clear. After we reach this pass we descend for 1 hour to reach our lunch destination beside the picturesque seven lakes or Comer Cochas. Following lunch we descend for another 1 1/2 hours through the community of Cuncani, then gradually ascend beautiful hillsides for 2 hours to reach our first campsite in Cuncani (3,750 m/12,300 ft). You will have time to rest and enjoy happy hour and then dinner later. Walking distance approximately 14km/8.7mi (6-7 hours)

DAY 2: CUNCANI – YANACOCHA – WAKAWASI – MANTANAY

After our 6:30am breakfast we leave Cuncani ascending for 2 1/2 hours to Cruz Cocha pass (4,200 m/13,780 ft) where we will see a beautiful lake called Cruz Cocha.  We then trek past lakes, walking through Yana Cocha (4,000 m/13,125 ft), and gradually descend for approximately 2 hours until we reach the Wakawasi Valley (3,850 m/12,630 ft). Here we will visit one local family in their traditional stone house. After this visit we continue walking up for 1 hour where we will be able to observe potato crops and herds of domesticated llamas on our way to Chaqchapata (3,950 m/12,960 ft), our lunch stop. After lunch we begin hiking up to reach the highest point of our trek, the Aurora Pass (4,600 m/15,092 ft) where we will have a spectacular view of the lake Aurora Cocha.  From the Aurora pass we will descend past Aurora Cocha and another smaller lake named Qeuña Cocha and traverse one more small pass to enter the valley of Queuñas (indigenous trees). You will enjoy a vast change in scenery before arriving at our beautiful campsite in Mantanay (3,900 m/12,795 ft) after approximately 2 hours. Walking distance approximately 17 km/10.6 mi (7-8 hours)

DAY 3: MANTANAY – YANAHUARA

After breakfast we start our walk around 7:30am with a much easier day ahead as we descend to lower altitude and enjoy amazing views of mountains, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and the Queuñas Bush Valley. You will notice the sudden change of weather and environment (warmer and more lush) and observe local campesinos (local farmers) farming different varieties of corn, potatoes and local vegetables. This walk will take approximately 4 hours to reach the picturesque village of Yanahuara where we enjoy the last lunch of our trek and say farewell to our staff, porters, horse handlers, cooks, and assistants. Private transport will then take us the final 20 minutes to Ollantaytambo where we will take the train to Aguas Calientes (2,100 m/6,890 ft), the town below Machu Picchu. Once in town you will be taken to a hotel for the night and you can visit the local hot springs if you wish before or after our dinner in a local restaurant. Walking distance approximately 12 km/7.5 miles (4 hours), overnight and dinner in a local Hostel.

DAY 4: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO

Wake up call and breakfast is very early (Approx 4am) in order for us to take one of the first (5:30am, 25 min ride) buses directly to Machu Picchu (2,400 m/7,875 ft). Once we arrive at Machu Picchu you will show your entrance ticket and passport. If you are a student you must bring your ISIC card to the entrance or you will not be permitted entrance. From the entrance, it is a 15-minute walk to the famous views from the South Zone of the farming terraces at the end of the Inca trail. Enjoy watching the sun rise over the ruin site and the fascinating tour of Machu Picchu with your guide who will unfold the mysteries of this magical site, explaining the history and flora/fauna. Your guide will spend about 2 1/2 hours relating interesting and amazing stories, explaining temples and special sectors. Your tour of Machu Picchu will finish between 9 and 9:30am after which you will have a little free time to take photos and explore. The new rules for 2019 have split the entrance times into three slots per day. Our tour includes the first ticket (6-10am) so at 10am you would need to exit the ruin site unless you choose to purchase an extra time slot (or two). If you wish to do one of the extra hikes within Machu Picchu (Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain) you would need to prepurchase a permit as well as an extra time slot in Machu Picchu (these new rules are dictated by the Peruvian government and we are sorry for the inconvenience). After you are done exploring the ruin site, either at 10am or later if you’ve booked more time, take one of the many, frequent buses down to Aguas Calientes.  There are many restaurants to choose from and your guide can also help suggest a nice place to eat. After grabbing a bite to eat you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo where private transport will drive you back to your hotel in Cusco.
  • Meals: Breakfast in the hotel, snacks on the tour
  • Overnight: Not Included

Helpful Info:

  • There are no bathrooms in the ruin site. There are bathrooms right outside the entrance, cost is 1 sol per entrance, and they provide a little toilet paper. If you leave close to the time your ticket expires it is likely they will not permit re-entry.
  • You are allowed to take in a small backpack (under 20L)
  • They are no longer allowing box lunches to be brought into the ruin site. We recommend bringing extra snacks (we provide snacks too) or going down to Aguas Calientes for lunch and returning depending on how much time you’ve booked in Machu Picchu
  • They no longer allow plastic water bottles so please come prepared with water bladders/reusable water bottle(s)
  • Please do not climb on or deface the rocks or leave trash/debris of any kind.
  • Our recommendation is to add one extra time slot to allow for more time in the Ruin Site (with or without an extra hike).

Machu Picchu Entrance Times: in 2019 there will be 3 time slots with only 2800 people allowed to enter Machu Picchu each day (down from 4000 in 2018)

  • First Entrance: 6am to 10am
  • Second Entrance: 9am to 1pm
  • Third Entrance: 12pm to closing
    • Note: there will potentially be 4-5 entrance times in 2020

HIKES WITHIN MACHU PICCHU

There are hikes within Machu Picchu that you can do on your own if you wish. The hikes that do not require an entrance ticket are The Inka bridge and the Sun Gate (where the Inka Trail ends with a view of Machu Picchu city). Wayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes both require a paid ticket and there are a limited number of spots (200 at 7am and 200 at 10am). If you want to hike one of these please let us know well in advance as these spots fill up very quickly. Please note we cannot guarantee you a spot for the mountains requiring tickets and that the trail is very steep and slippery and not for those afraid of heights or with vertigo).

We recommend the 10am time slot as Machu Picchu tends to be cloudy in the morning. You are only allowed to hike one of these mountains on a given day so if you would like to do both you would need to return the next day to hike the other one.

INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
  • Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning or our departure point (your choice) Plaza Regocijo
  • Private bus transport to the starting point of the trek
  • Personal porter to carry your overnight gear up to 8kg/17.6lbs
  • Dry bag in which to put your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty on the trail
  • 3 person, 4 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear Expedition tent)
  • One-inch-thick foam mattress sleeping pad to put under your sleeping bag
  • English speaking professional guide
  • Full meals on the trek (3 meals per day, tea time every afternoon, snacks on the trail)
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank and emergency horse
  • Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tents
  • Dining tent with tables and stools
  • Toilet, toilet tent and toilet paper
  • Horsemen and horses (to carry tents/food/cooking equipment)
  • Hot water every morning/evening for hand washing purposes
  • Boiled water to fill water bottles every morning/afternoon
  • Round trip tourist train: Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and back
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex (first time slot 6-10am)
  • Round-trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Hotel (double room) in Aguas Calientes and dinner in a local restaurant
  • Private Transport back to your hotel in Cusco
NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
  • Flights
  • Hotel before/after trek
  • Lunch and dinner on the last day
  • Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
  • Entrance to hot springs (20 soles)
  • Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Hike (85 USD including an extra timeslot) – these require permits and advanced booking to ensure spots. Please note we cannot guarantee a spot.
  • Extra timeslot to Machu Picchu (60 USD per slot per person)
  • Items of a personal nature, souvenirs
  • Tip for your guide(s) are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
BRING ON THE TRAIL
On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, snacks, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) and anything you will need before dinner as horses do not walk alongside you. Your bag will be waiting for you at every campsite. We will provide you with a duffel bag for extra luggage to be carried by horses.
PRICE AND NUMBER OF TREKKERS

A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group. Price for 6-10 trekkers: 770 USD per person. Price for 3-5 trekkers: 890 USD per person. Price for 2 trekkers: 1250 per person. Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.

WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
Year round. This trek is rated moderate considering the high altitudes and length of walking. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 2-3 days before trekking.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Itinerary is subject to change and Killa Expeditions is not responsible for loss of personal effects, interruption in your travels (from illness or other reason), or inclement weather/natural phenomena. Please see our disclosure agreement for further information. All trekkers will be required to sign an accident waiver form at time of departure and travel/medical insurance is highly recommended.
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TREK
What to bring: for your trek: The weather varies a lot in Peru, having 28 climates and 84 of the worlds 104 ecosystems. Cusco is set high up (3,380 mts, 11,089 ft) near the Andean Mountain Range and the dry season (winter) is from April/May to October/November with the wettest part of the year (summer) being January through March. Temperatures don’t vary too much between these seasons but the amount of precipitation does. If the sun is out it can be quite warm, but in the shade it gets cool fast. Temperatures change quickly and you will need layers as you hike during the day. At night it is quite cold in the mountains (usually near or below freezing) and most people will need long underwear and layers to sleep in, nice warm socks, gloves, and a hat. Everything you need for the day should be kept in your daypack that you carry because all the items you leave with your porter will not be available to you until the evening at the campsite. It is recommended not to hike in cotton or jeans in the event of rain as cotton takes a very long time to dry. It is also recommended to bring true hiking boots or trail running shoes as regular running shoes do not get very good traction especially when it has rained

  • Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
    • Recommend a sleeping bag rated for below freezing
  • Sleeping bag liner (for your sleeping bag if you wish)
  • Mattress pad – while we provide a mattress pad, being rested is essential for a great hiking experience and we find that sleep habits are very individualized. Therefore we recommend bringing your own pad that you know you are comfortable sleeping on, as well as any other sleep items you might want to have (camp pillow, etc).
  • Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Hiking shoes/boots
  • Hiking pants and shirts (layers)
  • Layers – long underwear and/or warm sleep pants for cold nights
  • Hand warmers if you wish
  • Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
  • Daypack and rain cover
  • Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
  • Cash for tipping porters, cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged soles are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
  • Swim suit, flip flops, towel for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes if you wish to go
  • Sandals
  • Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
  • Insect repellent
  • Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
    • E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco doesn’t sell items like this
  • First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
  • Personal medication and toiletries you might want
  • Camera, extra memory cards/film, batteries
  • Water bottle or water bladder to refill
  • Passport (must be valid 6 months past your travel dates for most countries)
  • Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
  • Power adapter/converter
  • Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
  • Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
  • Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
  • Small quick-dry pak towels and/or wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day

What to bring: medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs

  • Antibiotic for travelers diarrhea or UTI
  • Antibiotic for a severe bacterial infection
  • Medication for upset stomach/indigestion
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Anti-nausea medication for motion sickness/altitude sickness if needed
  • Cold/flu medication
  • General pain killer/fever reducer
  • Vaccinations – recommend bringing all boosters up to date (MMR, tetanus, etc)

View latest travel advisories and recommended vaccinations and medications for the regions you plan to visit. For Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu there are generally no vaccinations required. If you are going to the jungle or any other higher risk area you may need: yellow fever vaccine, medicine for malaria, typhoid vaccine, etc. Click here for updated info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx NOTE: Please visit your doctor several weeks before your trip to discuss any health restrictions you may have, medications he/she might recommend for you personally, and to seek more information about any vaccinations or medications recommended for Peru (or any of your other destinations). Additionally: speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications alone or combined.

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